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Level: LB Advent Calendar 2008 - Laras Magical Xmas Adventures 2 - The Golden Castle back home search
Author(s): Clara
total rating:9.47 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
afzalmiah 10 10 10 10
Andzia9 10 10 10 10
Bene 10 10 10 10
Czar 10 10 10 10
DJ Full 9 10 10 9
dmdibl 10 10 10 10
eRIC 8 9 10 9
eTux 8 9 10 9
Gerty 9 9 10 10
jawi 10 10 10 10
Jay 9 10 10 10
Jerry 8 9 9 8
Jose 9 9 9 10
Leeth 8 9 9 9
Maati 7 8 8 9
manarch2 9 10 10 9
MichaelP 9 9 10 9
Miriam 10 9 10 10
Mman 9 10 10 10
Moonpooka 10 10 10 10
Mytly 8 9 10 9
OverRaider 10 9 9 10
Phil 9 9 9 9
reborn1995 9 10 10 9
Ruben 10 10 10 10
Ryan 10 10 10 9
Shady Croft 9 9 9 9
Shandroid 10 10 10 10
TrueRaider 10 10 10 10
Zhyttya 8 9 9 9
category averages
(30 reviews)
9.17 9.50 9.70 9.50

Reviewer's comments

"This level in the Magical Xmas Adventures levelset has Lara searching for the second Altar piece which is hidden in the golden castle. There are a few nifty puzzles along the way for her to solve, as well as a few secrets. The castle was a sight for sore eyes. Now, to the next level!" - Ryan (29-Mar-2016)

"It was a funny experience to play in level with some original idea about plot and mechanic. Interesting ideas about characters is something which I remember the most of this level. My experience was distorted by some illogical aspects in gameplay what gave me some frustration. The worst was moment with Golden Cat and hundreds of attempts to give him a toy. Also atmosphere of cold and strict mountains wasn't the best as for Christmas game. Things took a different turn in Golden Castle which was enjoyable in terms of visual aspects. To sum up I have to say that it is an interesting level with nice mountain atmosphere and decent level of difficulty - as for the TRLE players. There are few disadvantages which I mentioned above, but definitely I can recommend this level." - Maati (14-Jan-2016)

"This level definitely had the most creativity implemented in the game play of all four parts. I loved all of the different interactions that Lara can perform with a lot of characters. The decoration was amazing and truly Christmas spirit. UNFORTUNATELY you can skip this level with a shortcut in The Village/the finale level." - Zhyttya (10-Dec-2015)

"Visiting old friends, a talking dragon, lovely puzzles and mechanics, a golden cat and an awesome decoration! That really sums up this level! It was a bit of a downgrade from the Village on the atmosphere and graphic wise but the cameras were great and not intrusive. The puzzles them self were different and always glad for new experiences on that department, especially with such a nice balance on mechanics/beauty of the level.. Everything just kinda fit together!" - Leeth (10-Dec-2015)

"In my opinion the most impressive level from this level set because here we have a nice atmospheric area full of snowy mountains and a golden castle on the top, creative puzzles especially in the castle, the path how you get to that castle is superb, many creative tasks (helping to save the dragon so he can help you, the golden cat puzzle, some jump acrobatics, laser sight puzzle and many more), five secrets to collect saddly in which I had a feeling that some of them were just randomly dropped because of less inspiration to hide them...also another thing which I didn`t like was that there is invinsible "wall" all around the place which in my opinion really destroyed the atmosphere (there should be no invinsible wall in TR if there is no real reason for it, Lara should be able to explore everything what she can physically reach!!!). Nevertheless as I mentioned earlier this is my favorite level from this set and I enjoyed it very very much, thanks to Clara. 10/9/9/10" - OverRaider (11-Dec-2013)

"After the interesting cutscene with the plane we get to see quite an impressive area, with a very high rock formation and the brightly golden castle on it. The task is clear from the start - get up there. First, we meet Herman the Dragon and make a deal with him, then it goes up! And what a fun this is - getting the right places to jump to and always finding the way to progress was highly enjoyable. The areas inside the rock gave even more varied gameplay - from timed runs to finding keys and stars. The second half of the level was in the castle itself, with more tasks and keys to find and some nice ideas like the ghost that appears using the ghost book or the golden cat (nice idea to get her away from the book). All in all I wished some more puzzles in this one, and the texturing was at times too bright golden, but at the end the player will be satisfied by two nice tasks - getting the right code card and finding a way over the disappearing tiles. Lara gets to feed the dragon (I can't praise the ideas of this levelpack higher) and finally exits with the altar piece. Another stunning level, again with a wonderful setting and great ideas." - manarch2 (20-Apr-2011)

"I absolutly love this level! My favourite out of all the adventure! Everything was perfect. You know where you're going most of the time, the music and sound was very fitting, inside the golden castle was really breathtaking. You cannot miss this level. It will be one of the best single levels you will ever play." - afzalmiah (04-Mar-2011)

"NOTE: Splitting this project up into four parts is misleading - many players won't notice it's a whole serious levelset. THIS REVIEW EXISTS IN 4 COPIES, AS IT DESCRIBES THE WHOLE PROJECT. ALSO, ALL 4 LEVELS SHARE THE SAME RATING, BECAUSE RATING THEM SEPARATELY HAS ALREADY MADE THE WHOLE ADVENTURE SERIOUSLY UNDERRATED.
The Village
A hub level. From here, we take on main adventures, one by one. Also, here we watch a great ending cutscene. Some puzzles are like never before - seems they were designed especially for this Advent. Solving them, You have to be as creative as their author constructing them. When I entered the forge and I realized how I am supposed to get the key, I was shocked by masha's creativity. Of course, the initial pushable is very misleading. Honestly, I found it the most efficient gameplay killer. How one is supposed to know where to place those cubes? I was so desperated I found it... but anyone not desperated enough may bin the game in the very beginning, losing the opportunity to watch all the following marvels. And lighting... Another level where it looks pretty, but often makes no sense.
The Golden Castle
The dragon is called Herman. HERMAN, but for some reason I still call him Raymond. Great work with that voice - that dialogue brought this part to life, and the impression remains till we finally feed Ray... I mean Herman and watch him fly away. In that moment, I don't know if I wanted to smile or cry. But I know it was beautiful. Palace roof is stunning, with a written date of erection and making use of it. Also, the golden cat, modified Winston, the cake, the ghost... everything matches everything, creating perfect unity and I'm sure there is no other palace similar to this one in the whole custom level world.
Magic Forest
Feels like a grandpa of Mystica. I can see no better comparison. Same atmosphere. Less polygons, so it isn't lagging. Also, the most challenging secret is placed in this part. Not a very challenging one, but You need to be observant. The only flaw is unmarked ladders... Why, oh, why?
Chapel in the Mountains
I like the landscape, giving an illusion of open space - it remains even if one gets to the end of graphics. I always like that feeling I can go everywhere, and that's why I was annoyed I couldn't get to the top of the frozen waterfall... Anyway, nearly every peak is accessible. Unfortunately, they all look flat and empty. Also, the house looks like it was made of plastic, not wood, killing atmosphere. Also, sounds are too "sharp" (it's good to rip old SFX from TR2, but in this version some samples hurt ears). All these issues made me take several breaks from the game, what didn't happen in any other level of this project. The new jumpswitches and their animation is great, also the camera sequence showing spikes emerging faster and faster. But the most thrilling, simply perfect trap is the boulder. With music warning a player just a split second before the ball falls, Spongebob couldn't synchronize them better (clap, clap).
SUMMARY: Here, authors of really relaxing Silent Snowy Place - Clara and masha - join their building power with another two creators - Eva and Spongebob - and together bring us something really challenging. And remarkable. What can help feel true ADVENT atmosphere more than making villagers WAIT for their relics to be returned to their church? This is not a raid (which is a robbery), but rather an anti-raid (which is a retrieval) - an inverted kind of such mission. Still, usual raiding feelings are present (just in case of "+" and "-", the opposite signs sharing the same absolute value). Explore various mystical places - a forest, a village, a mystic palace and some ruins, each of them of different atmosphere - but watch out! The artifacts are well hidden there, so completing this quest will require lots of thinking, with opening mind in every possible direction (unless You wanna get stuck) - thus, if You're a beginner, don't bother today, but remember this game and return to it when You are an experienced raider. Or anti-raider. That day, LMXA will burn lots of Your neurons, but will also leave lots of satisfaction when You make it to the very end. The best Xmas project I've played so far. It prompted me to play all remaining Advent levels soon, to make sure if I am right or not." - DJ Full (13-Feb-2011)

"A complete adventure that will leave no one indifferent. The authors of this level have worked with the magic of Christmas and used it to create not just a saga, but also a fantasy. The first level the player left speechless. The domain of geometric figures is evident in such sublime architecture. The church is impressive, but also the kind of houses and courtyard. The puzzles are fairly easy, but there are logical and not a single enemy in sight. Castle Gold is simply spectacular, the atmosphere and the horizon made me feel being in the mountains. However, the most beautiful thing is the Castle level. I personally loved the room where the cat was gold. The puzzles and gameplay in this level were great. At the next level, that of the forest, the player must focus on puzzles and logic. Again, the atmosphere is breathtaking. The next level is shorter but no less entertaining. This time we are in the snowy mountains and we have to enter the catacombs of a building, which will solve an interesting puzzle. We will need also the help of a revolver. The only thing I missed are the enemies and the fact of worrying about if I was going to be killed or die. Moreover, I didn't used none of so many medipacks I collected." - Miriam (06-Sep-2010)

"An Advent level that has reached the Hall of Fame! I had high expectations from this level, not all of which were met.
While the texturing and lighting are technically sound, aesthetically the looks of this level do not appeal to me. The outdoor snowy areas are very pretty, of course, but the area in and around the castle are just a little too 'golden' - i.e. bright yellow - for my taste. A slightly less gaudily coloured castle would have looked far better, in my opinion. The inside of the castle (which looks more like a modest cottage in size than a castle) is beautifully decorated with lots of knick-knacks, and sports a butler, a tiger-sized cat and even a benign ghost. But the plethora of objects also results in the framerate dropping alarmingly in several spots.
Gameplay is patchy - there are some moments of great fun mingled with lots of obscure bits (the cat toy comes to mind immediately - did anyone figure out what to do with that on their own?). Still - climbing up the mountain is fun, and getting down using the paraglider is even more fun. The story is interesting, especially Herman the chatty dragon, who is adorable. It's a really nice idea to make the dragon a friendly chap instead of an enemy.
Overall: A good level on the whole, but it felt a bit too 'busy' - as if the builder was trying to stuff in too many things." - Mytly (05-May-2010)

"This level is based around a mountain climb done on a massive scale, and with a great looking castle at the top. Both the mountain and castle are very well realised locations, and this is the one level with some sort of storyline (relayed by a Dragon at the bottom). The gameplay is very varied, starting with a climbing puzzle, moving onto a mix of climbing and puzzling, and then being mainly puzzles at the top, and everything flows smoothly beyond the Cat Toy's usage area being very hard to work out. Another excellent level and maybe the best of the pack." - Mman (23-Apr-2010)

"It was very beautiful level. What can it say more, nice views, wonderful golden castle, easy playing. The best textures I've ever seen." - Andzia9 (11-Dec-2009)

"An Advent calendar level's ascension to the Top 10 already made me curious after the level's release, but being me, I am actually playing the level set during August of all times. But being done with it now, I can see that all the excitement surrounding it was justified. There's just something about a golden castle on top of a mountain you have to climb that one cannot not love, and it certainly helps that it's presented as professionally as here. The quest to help the friendly dragon that's trapped at the bottom of the mountain is fun from the first minutes and manages to keep up with the bar it sets well. Following the torches to reach the mountaintop was fun (nothing for those who suffer from vertigo though!) and the castle itself is entertaining too, bar a few pickups like the cat toy, the application of which required some mind reading on the player's part if one approaches the level with no external help. But don't let that detract you from playing this, as you won't want to miss out on the magical setting, be it the plateau or the Palace itself, the wonderful fairy-tale like atmosphere this conveys, the number of fun tasks along the way or the neatly told storyline! Not to be missed, regardless if you want to play it for the festivities or for the level itself!" - eTux (07-Aug-2009)

"Now we are in the mountains and your goal is to get inside the castle. This is not that difficult, as it may seem. I loved the dragon even if he was very naughty and burned the whole outside forest. The secrets were pretty nifty hidden though, but overall this was a very pleasant level to play." - Gerty (21-Apr-2009)

"Lara's quest for the missing 3 alter pieces and the cross continues. Right from the beginning flyby with the background music from the Harry Potter movies (apparently, Clara is a fan of them :-) ), I knew this will be a fun and great level. The quest takes Lara to a very beautiful setting, and quite unique in the TR level editor world. After striking a deal with a guardian dragon to get him a piece of meat in exchange for the guarded second piece of the alter, you have to find your way up a rocky and snowy mountain to a castle perching on top of it. I loved the gameplay surrounding climbing the mountain with finding the appropriate flat spots, levers, ropes, and timed sequences. It was also a very beautiful setting that showed great skills of the author. Right at the top, you get to the second section of the level, revolving around the castle and its garden and courtyard. The transition from a rocky and a snowy setting to the golden one was magnificent. The tasks in the house are not too difficult but various. Timed raising blocks, platforms, torch puzzle, levers and items are some tasks you have to do before obtaining the piece of meat. The last few minutes were also beautiful, with the beautiful cinematic-like part with the descent, and freeing the dragon. Excellent texturing, lighting and atmosphere, and a very great offer from Clara." - Shady Croft (26-Jan-2009)

"Excellent this golden castle. Fantastic animations, very good architecture with the small castle on the top of the mountain you must climb, good puzzles, nice camera views, beautiful objects... For me was the best of the four levels of the adventure. Good work." - Jose (23-Jan-2009)

"Now it's time to meet a friendly dragon! I never met a dragon before, but I am sure most of them are not of this gentle sort asking you politely for a favor. First you have to make your exhausting way up the rocks to get access to the castle. I wonder how Ol' Winston made his way up here, but somehow he succeeded as he is awaiting you offering a cup of tea and a torch. A small maze and quite modernly refurbished rooms inside the castle are awaiting you. Free a ghost from a book and make the cat play in order to get the golden book off it. I don't really know what the ghost was for, unfortunately she ran into a wall and got stuck there. Maybe it was the late lady of the house. But in the end, after doing a hang-glider flight, filling the dragon's feeding dish and watch him fly away (well, it was a walk through the air rather than a flight) you find the needed altar piece and can safely return to the village to get yourself ready for the next adventure." - Jerry (09-Jan-2009)

"This review is intended to address The Golden Castle, the second level in the Magical Christmas Adventures foursome. This level features a rugged terrain in the early going as you make your way up to an immense golden castle nestled in the snowy mountains. Once you finally get inside, the tasks start exercising your brain more than your jumping and climbing skills. Along the way you'll meet some interesting characters. There's a golden cat lying on something you need to get to, so you have to find a way to get the cat to move away. There's an aggravating ghost in this area who doesn't harm Lara but certainly does get in her way. Finally, there's a friendly dragon that does you a favor by melting a frozen lake with its fiery breath, but only after you bring it something to eat. Great stuff from beginning to end." - Phil (29-Dec-2008)

"The story with the dragon at the bottom of the castle is brilliant. Some complained of the conversation with the dragon being too long, but i didn't think it detracted from the level at all--i think lots of builders fail to emphasize the plot of a level enough. i'm really not sure what the point of the spirit girl was though; she really seemed superfluous and almost annoying at times. And finding the precise spot to stand to play with the cat was a tad frustrating, and it was sort of a let down that the cat didn't seem to do all that much playing. But overall this level is really great." - reborn1995 (25-Dec-2008)

"Quite a good level with a very original idea of setting : a golden castle set at the top of a rocky mountain. The golden textures are very beautiful , and there are good objects. The climbing of the mountain was entertaining with some fun jumps to perform, a few timed runs which are not difficult except one that caused many reloads and I had to do it twice (don't know if there was a way to avoid this), and a good puzzle with pad tiles near the end. There is also many puzzles to solve inside the castle , mainly based on the finding and using of some objects. I really enjoyed all of the ending with a clever flyby when Lara uses the "flying wing" to return at the bottom of the mountain and the use of the dragon to melt the ice, and the atmosphere throughout the level was excellent with very good audio tracks." - eRIC (20-Dec-2008)

"What a superb level, I just couldn't believe my eyes! Way on the top of the mountain is interesting and full of adventures. Golden castle is brilliant. Textures are beautiful and gameplay is very good. Lara's ghost is very nice. It wasn't boring which is hard to do. Every moment is unique. Second thing which is great is its music. These ambient tracks are from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and it's a very good idea. Music creates magical atmosphere and I love it. Unfortunately everything goes to an end and I remember this Christmas level as very good." - jawi (20-Dec-2008)

"Second part of the wonderful XMas Series compiled by Masha , Clara , Eva and Spongebob. I will not go into details as every part is a marvellous adventure of its own. Thank You Clara for this Christmas Present , Frohe Weihnachten !" - Ruben (18-Dec-2008)

"Lara's next advent adventure takes us to a beautiful golden castle set high in the snow capped mountains. here, Lara has to find the 2nd altar piece to take back to the village. Firstly, Lara will meet the dragon. He was locked away because he had a cold and coughed one day; this caused a fire and so it was felt it would be safer to cage him up. Poor dragon :-( Anyway, he makes a deal with Lara. if she gets him some food, and releases him from the cage, he will show her the way to the golden angel who has the 2nd altar piece. So, a search begins and Lara makes her way up the mountain side guided by the lit torches. On her way she will collect a key and a star, and then eventually will gain access to the golden castle. Both inside and outside the castle, the view is stunning, and the castle itself looks like it's straight out of a fairytale. The tasks to perform once you are inside the castle include a timed block run, lighting candles with some help from Winston, doing a deal with a cat for the book he hides and meeting a cute ghost. When all your tasks are done, you can go visit the dragon again, release him and gather your reward. A beautiful level throughout with many fun things to do, and all set in a perfect Christmas theme. Thank you to all concerned for this fabulous 2nd advent adventure." - Moonpooka (13-Dec-2008)

"This was my very favorite of the Magical Xmas Adventure levels. Wow, what a gorgeous level, and so mysterious! Lara lands her plane, but perhaps it should have been an Osprey, because it lands more like a helicopter, and well, this would have been a one-way trip had the plane needed a runway. Suspend thy disbelief and move on! Lara proceeds quickly to a caged dragon who is quite well-spoken for a hungry dragon. Next, Lara goes up the mountain and uses some trusty jumping skills. There are nicely placed torches to light her way. After a few more more rooms, Lara finally reaches the golden castle and it really is warm and beautiful. For being a small space, I stayed for a really long time here jumping around and solving mighty nifty puzzles. This was truly a nice, Christmas treat without a doubt." - Shandroid (13-Dec-2008)

"Another visually stunning area in this excellent game as you embark upon a quest to find food for a starving and most charming dragon which entails searching the impressive castle (once you find your way there) and enticing a huge golden cat to give you the book you require. As with the other levels in this game, there are some excellent puzzles/use of objects." - Jay (11-Dec-2008)

"Already in the Christmas spirit after the first level, this one only heightens it further. A fantastic adventure just under an hour, perfect. You are given a clear goal by the very friendly dragon at the start and from then on it is sheer joy to play through. The task of getting up to the castle by following the torches was very clever and quite tricky sometimes. But once you were up there you have to find what the dragon told you to get. At one point you even see a ghost! Beautiful atmosphere here and I didn't want it to end. The journey back down to the bottom is equally clever as it is coming up. Though the dragon didn't even say thanks at the end! Brilliant level." - TrueRaider (11-Dec-2008)

"My favorite of these wonderful levels, this one freely indulges in Christmas magic. Lara has a cute airplane, which must have vertical takeoff and landing capabilities, given the terrain. Her good buddy Herman gives some sage advice about getting the angel's book, and about following the torch route, all for only the price of a joint (for American readers, not that sort of joint). Like most dragons, Herman is clearly a raconteur. The climb up is great fun, and is even better for those on the lookout for secrets. The golden castle itself doesn't disappoint, with its shining turrets, balconies, and rooftop gardens. The book of ghost stories releases a real (and rather clingy) ghost, and there is a large cat that needs to be coaxed off the needed angel's book. One of my few criticisms would be that Lara has to stand on an exact spot to get the cat to show any interest in the offered toy (and even then all the lazy feline does is move a bit forward, instead of leaping up as the toy bounces away). An enchanting whimsical design and story throughout, clever game play, few places that slow down the action for long. Found all five secrets. A real pleasure to play." - dmdibl (11-Dec-2008)

"Well, what a complete delight this second part of this year's advent calendar level set is. Though the opening cutscene is slightly over-long for my liking, after that we are straight to work in investigating the fantasy landscape we find Lara in. The lighting is positively enchanting, the trees look great, and the background audio just right. As with the introduction/hub level, the music is simply delightful, and what strange comfort there is in the sound of Lara's footsteps padding across the snow-covered terrain. After a quite wonderful cutscene with a dragon which, despite being rather long, was a complete pleasure to sit and watch, Lara has essentially to find her way up to what seems to purport to be a golden, mountain top palace. This is rather more easy than it appears, which is somewhat of a relief. It is also rather more shorter a trip than it appears, which is somewhat of a disappointment. I would have liked to have seen more invention and interest introduced to this part of the level. When we do eventually make our way to this golden palace, we encounter a small maze outside the main doors which isn't really a maze at all. When we come to gain entry, we also discover that it really isn't a palace either. Aside from the nice little pleasure of being welcomed by a butler (one would presume it's not Winston), this home is quiet and comforting to be in, with never a sense of any threat or foreboding, even with the appearance of a ghost, which I was somewhat perplexed by. Her following of Lara I also found to be a slight annoyance. Really, what was the point? There are more secrets in this level that the first, and these are all well enough hidden too, making the finding of them a pleasure. When we finally make it to the roof of this 'palacette' (if there is such word), it is truly enchanting to see. Such a pity that it does turn out to be so small, in fact, and so short an area to work in. The appearance promises so much which it doesn't deliver on in terms of size and length of gameplay alone. Still, these really are minor disappointments that do not in any way detract from the almost perfect entirety of the level. After a glide back down to ground level to feed the dragon, soon enough we are returning back to the hub level in this set and our wonderful little adventure here is sadly over. *The set is spoiled slightly by the lack of uniformity in the menu items as was having pistols taken away between levels." - Czar (10-Dec-2008)

"Golden is the right word to describe this castle and also a perfect descriptive word would be enchanting. Set high above, Lara must wind her way to it, first finding a secret on the lower path. But not before meeting a very special story book character, Herman the Dragon, who will help Lara find another missing piece if she helps bring him food and releases him from his cage. A Golden cat; a Golden book of poems; the oft-used torch and a wonderful romp outside on top of the mini maze and it's environs will too soon have Lara on the roof top and back in the village. Fun secret placement and an enchanting continuing story line and it's execution make this a perfect setting. Well done, Clara." - Bene (10-Dec-2008)

"It is actually not easy to describe the beauty of this four level Christmas set, which consists of four individually just wonderful levels that in their entirty work together even better. These levels have it all - generally interesting gameplay that is not too hard and not too easy, beautiful and original custom objects and animations, a simple but effective storyline and they just ooze the Christmas mood from beginning to end.
Part 2, The Golden Castle, has this absolutely brilliant moment with Herman, the dragon, who explains the deal and therefore Lara's task in this part, which is essentially to find your way up along the mountain to reach the castle at the top and get a few key items from there. The gameplay inside the castle is also very nicely conceived, even though it was kind of tough to find the right spot to get the cat to play. There are some timed actions, but all fairly mild and some good use of the torch here and eventually you free Herman and finish this part. Again, about an hour in this part and found 4 secrets." - MichaelP (09-Dec-2008)
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